Did you realize the US Census doesn’t count Americans who live abroad? It was pretty annoying to me last time. I wanted to be counted! More important, when there’s not a good count, in turn there’s less representation and support for the rights of Americans abroad.
Some new numbers are in. According to an ACA newsletter I received, the US State Department has released these estimates of Americans residing outside the United States who are not affiliated with the US military or US government:
- Western Hemisphere: 2,222,000
- Europe: 1,488,000
- East Asia and Pacific: 754,000
- Near East: 586,000
- Africa: 109,600
- South Central Asia: 97,000
- Total: 5.25 million
I’ve looked on the State Department web site for the source figures, but so far, I can’t find them.
It’s important to note that these figures are basically guesswork. As I said, there’s no census done, so there’s no way to really know.
Who cares about counting Americans abroad? For one thing, technically all these people are still residents of a particular state. If they’re not counted, then the state might be underrepresented. That’s one reason a Utah congressman is pushing for an overseas count.
Another reason is that if you don’t count them, it’s hard for anyone to stand up for them. ACA is fighting hard to stop US banks from using the Patriot Act as an excuse to close the bank accounts of Americans who live overseas. When I petitioned US senator Diane Feinstein twice about the absurd Form 90-22.1 that those with overseas bank accounts are required to file, she never answerd. Twice. Like no one in her office — nada.
And why not? What’s she care about stuff that technically is outside her state, despite the fact I remained a California citizen?
Consider this. With 5 million US citizens abroad, collectively they’d be the 21st most populated state. How about giving them two senators and representatives? Because “geographically” speaking, they have much different concerns than the states they originate from.